Britain tolerated “inexcusable” treatment of terror detainees: MPs

Vastavam web: Britain tolerated the “inexcusable” mistreatment of detainees by US authorities during the war on terror and took part in planning extraordinary rendition operations, according to a British parliamentary report published today. “In our view the UK tolerated actions, and took others, that we regard as inexcusable,” according to the report by lawmakers from parliament’s intelligence and security committee.

It said British officials became aware of mistreatment of US-held prisoners soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks. “The same is true of rendition there was no attempt to identify the risks involved and formulate the UK’s response,” it added. MPs also found three cases in which Britain’s spy agencies MI6 and MI5 “made, or offered to make, a financial contribution to others to conduct a rendition operation”.

“Given the countries concerned, these can be described as ‘extraordinary renditions’ due to the real risk of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” it said. It added there was no evidence of rendition flights crossing British airspace but two detainees transited through Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean with a US base.

The probe found that British security services took part in 2,000 to 3,000 interviews of US-held detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay following the 2001 attacks. The lawmakers identified no evidence of British officers directly taking part in mistreatment but said that in two cases they “were party to mistreatment administered by others”. Belhaj was kidnapped in Thailand in 2004 and transferred to Libya, where he was tortured by Moamer Kadhafi’s regime. Belhaj became Tripoli’s military commander after Kadhafi was ousted in a 2011 revolution.